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Everywhere you look, you'll find blogs and articles buzzing about the topic of Social Media. Meanwhile the topic of "email" is getting pushed into the digital marketing archives. Yet, many of my customers keep asking me about emails. "What do you see as some of the best practices for email marketing?" "Is email better than social media for direct marketing?" "Why are so many of my emails not going through to the intended recipient?" It sounds to me that email isn't anywhere near dead. I think savvy business professionals realize that email is still great for parts and service reminders, promoting dialogue with loyal customers and targeting special offers. So, to all of you who asked, I offer the following:

Your email is always with you
Smartphone usage has skyrocketed - especially for executives and decision-makers. Do that receiver a favor and send emails that are viewable, with links that go to Smartphone friendly websites, so that your messages have more of an opportunity of being read. Therefore, graphically rich emails with links to content rich sites may not be the best option for increasing read rates.

Social media and email are integrated
Email is one of the best ways to share your social network profiles via signature tagging. Mashable gives us a guide to the five best tools to use for aggregating networks and offering solutions to "unclutter" your signature line with all of those networks. Additionally, using social media is one of the best ways to share emails. "Share - to - social" can increase email reach by more than 24%, as noted in Media Post - so don't see them as separate, but linked technologies that can help integrate your message through multiple platforms.

Email volume is rising
The Email Stat Center displays some amazing usage statistics that blew my mind. The one that surprised me the most was that of the 70% of people that have multiple email accounts, they will receive nearly 600 emails per week! Wow! This indicates a need to be able to get through the clutter. Plus, those users are probably extremely sophisticated. Therefore, we must be cognizant of subject lines, copy, and offers so that our emails are opened. The caveat to this positive centers around managing that volume properly. Many email professionals believe that overly frequent messaging can get you designated as a spammer. Before beginning a campaign, look into the best practices of your industry and email marketing to ensure you're viewed as the quality organization you want to portray.

My personal recommendation to accomplish the former are:

  • Never include the name of the person in the subject line. You will be labeled a spammer if you do this.
  • Get to the point. If I'm reading 600 emails a week, I don't have the time to sift through an ambiguous communication to get to the offer.
  • Give the receiver a chance to dialogue with your organization. One of the most important lessons of social media is that people want to dialogue and be a part of a larger conversation.
  • Targeting for the commercial vehicle market is paramount. After you develop your target market, get out there and communicate! Happy emailing.
Posted by Therran Oliphant, Account Representative, Commercial Vehicle Truck Group, Polk (11.18.2009)

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